It’s interesting how gyms have become so popular in the past ten years (at least). Once upon a time, it was so expensive and there weren’t too many around, that if you wanted to go to one, you had to be earning a good wage. These days, they’re everywhere! Some are still expensive and others are cheap in comparison.
However, they remain way out of my financial reach as much as they always have (at least since noticing my friends going to the gym regularly over the last 6 years). Doesn’t seem to matter how cheap they make it, it’s still too much for my pocket. The sad reality of living on borderline poverty, I’m afraid ☹
All my life, I have had a great metabolism. I could eat anything I wanted and not put on a gram. Much to some of my friends’ envy! Even after having twins and dating a guy (for 4 years) who’s diet consisted of take-out nearly every day (and I was with him virtually every day).
Before falling pregnant, I was 48kg (nothing like my 75kg now!). From noticing my sister being a size bigger after her son, I expected myself to be the same. So, after having them, and going shopping with my cousin for a new dress, I tried on a size ten. Too big!! I was truly shocked! My cousin’s reaction? She jokingly called me a bitch – a common reaction haha.
When I was training as an Enrolled Nurse back in 1996 (now I’m showing my age lol), I used to take leftovers from dinner to work for lunch. Two big meals a day saw me put on only 4kg over a twelve-month period. It then dropped off me with no effort at all in a matter of two weeks from graduation! My wedding day coincided with that weight loss as well! My dress ended up being too big because all the measurements were taken and the dress adjusted six months prior, with a fitting three weeks before the big day.
For this reason, I didn’t think about diets at all. I played touch football for a few years, but not for exercise – for something to do, it was fun, and my friends were playing it. For some strange reason, I didn’t even put it in the same category of exercise. I remember once, being asked if I exercised and I said no. I thought exercise was things like running around the block, or walking long distances, star jumps or an aerobics class! Sport was a category on its own.
OMG! So blonde back then lol.
I also played netball, squash and ten pin bowling in my younger days. The only gym I had heard of was the one up near Shellharbour Square (now Stocklands Shellharbour) which I can’t remember the name of. I had attended there for sport in high school to do Aqua Arobics and Cardio-Funk. Outside of that, I didn’t know a single person who was a member there.
Or any gym for that matter.
Since meeting my now partner, we have gone on a gazillion walks, visited pretty much every beach in the Illawarra, and looked out over Nowra, Kiama, and Wollongong at various lookouts and vantage points (which I haven’t done since before I was married the second time – at least eighteen years).
During our walks, I started noticing these outdoor gyms everywhere. I never knew they were there before. But then again, it had been a very long time since I had walked those paths.
My first thought was about vandalism, strangely enough.
However, they looked sturdy, made of steel and seemed that they could take a bit of thrashing before any real damage would be inflicted. There was one with black paint on it, not a tag, just stripes and squiggles from a spray can. Other than that, I didn’t notice any graffiti.
I have no idea how long these outdoor gyms have been around, but I got the impression they had been there for a while. They didn’t appear to be new.
My next thought was “How cool! What an awesome idea!”
Not only are they free for anyone to use, you get to stare out at a magnificent view of the beach, ocean and/or lake while doing the workout. Don’t know too many gyms with such a view which just takes your breath away, making everything else insignificant as motivation, or distraction from the exercise you’re doing.
Besides, the fresh air versus the air conditioner is a no brainer. I know what’s better for my lungs.
But there is a draw back or two.
Despite the different equipment having instructions on how to best use it, there’s no one to tell you if you are doing it right or wrong, so a lot easier to cause an injury like a pulled muscle, which my partner experienced because he listened to something I said. There’s no Personal Trainer (PT) to instruct you, of which I am not one!
Being an outdoor gym, there’s no mirror for you to check if your gait is correct for the position you need to be in. Unless you’re lucky and a PT, or experienced exercise guru, just so happens to be there to see your wrong use of the gym and direct you to the right way.
For someone short, like me, there is no way to adjust the height of say, the bike, so you can touch the peddles properly.
The seats are also as hard as they look, making it difficult to sit on a few of the activities, causing pain in the buttocks region. Remember how when a kid sits on your lap and it begins to hurt, so you tell them they have a bony bum as you lift them off? Well, it feels something like that, only the other way around – you’re not being sat on, you’re feeling your own bony bum!
One day last week, we went to Berkeley. Across the road from the Berkeley Sports and Social Club, there is a recreation area. It has play equipment, a little one person in-ground trampoline, a one-on-one basketball court, a skateboard ramp, some picnic tables and an outside gym (which at the time I wasn’t aware of). We stopped at this place to shoot some hoops (as they say haha) on the basketball court. Getting out of the car is when I noticed the outdoor gym.
This one was different.
It was green!
I thought “Awesome! How cool.” I said to my partner,
“How cool would it be if all the outdoor gyms were each a different colour and you knew where each one was? You could say to your friend, “I went to the green outdoor gym today.” And they could reply with “Cool. I used the purple one today.” And you would both know where the other had been.”
We laughed. My partner said it would definitely be cool. I added,
“And you could then challenge yourself to go to each coloured outdoor gym just so you can say you’ve been on them all.”
I think he thinks I’m weird. He’d be correct.
“You’re weird. Don’t change,” is something I say to people all the time when they do strange things haha.
Essentially, this innovative idea of putting in the outdoor gyms, is fantastic! For someone like myself, who can’t afford the rates of a normal gym, I’m impressed the council decided to do something like this. As long as you follow the instructions for each activity, the outdoor gym is a wonderful alternative.
And what about the view?!
Nothing can beat that!
Or the price!
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